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Motorcycles require regular maintenance and care to work well. This often means several hours of inspection, cleaning, and lubing to keep its parts moving.
Although most parts are somewhat simple to clean, the motorcycle chain requires the most frequent care. It needs cleaning, inspection, and lubing, for which you need the best products.
Finding these products can sometimes be a bit tricky due to as many options on the market. This is especially the case with the best motorcycle chain cleaners.
Take a few minutes to discover some of the best cleaners and how to pick one for your chain.
5 Highest Rated Motorcycle Chain Cleaner Reviews
Motul – First Class
Motul is one of the most popular options among first-class lubricants. It works as a cleaner and lubricant for many motorcycles, bikes, and other vehicles.
It’s designed to remove encrusted deposits, dirt, sand, soil, grease, and more. It’s a light formula that doesn’t turn thick or sticky, which means no dirt will stick to it later on.
Another thing worth noting is the easy-to-use packaging. This one comes in a spray bottle and is easy to apply to your chain and other motorcycle parts.
Plus, Motul is safe for other parts and areas of your bike, which means you don’t have to worry if you get it anywhere other than the chain.
It stops rust from forming, prolonging durability without too much effort on your part.
WD-40 – Fast-Acting
WD-40 is a well-known product used by many people around the world. It’s one of the best options for degreasing and cleaning dirt, sand, and soil from engines, machinery, and equipment.
Powersolve Technology used is a proprietary solvent quickly breaking down grease and dirt without damaging the chain. It’s safe to use on most metals, plastic, glass, rubber, aluminum, and other similar materials.
WD-40 is a versatile product that cleans, degreases, and lubes your chain and other components. It’s easy to use as the bottle comes with a smart straw, providing two spraying methods.
It’s important to note that it doesn’t leave any residue and is safe on the skin. It’s a multi-surface product with low levels of fumes and run-off. Also, the back of the bottle features instructions.
Maxima – Heavy-duty
Maxima is a heavy-duty cleaner designed to remove built-up sand, dirt, and soil. The most important is to mention that this one won’t damage the rubber O-rings or any other part.
While it’s safe to use on most surfaces, Maxima is particularly efficient on aluminum. It’s designed to dissolve and remove hard built-up from different areas.
However, make sure to stay away from painted surfaces because it might cause some paints to fade. It’s also not the best for Lexan or plastic windshields as it might leave a residue.
Maxima is easy to use since all you have to do is spray it on before leaving it to sit for a few minutes. Once it had enough time to work, you can rinse the area with water.
Muc Off – Dry Cleaner
Muc Off might be your best option if you’re not a fan of having to use water. It’s a dry cleaner that doesn’t require rinsing, which often makes it easier and faster to clean.
It’s designed to remove grease, grime, and oils, preventing your chain from wearing as quickly. This is meant to prolong its overall life if you include the Muc Off in your regular maintenance routine.
The formula takes a few seconds to dry and leaves no residue. This allows you to ride immediately after treating your chain, so there’s no waste of time.
All you have to do is spray it on, leaving it to sit for a few minutes before wiping it clean with a microfiber cloth. It’s a water-free formula that’s safe to use on all motorcycles, including electric ones.
Dirtbusters Store – Eco friendly
Dirtbusters Blackberry cleaner is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an eco-friendly product. It’s a bio bike cleaner with enzymes and microbes to remove even the most persistent mud, muck, grime, and oil.
It comes ready to use in a spray bottle. It’s a regular spray bottle you won’t have any issues with, even if you wear gloves while cleaning.
The high-pressure spray does half of the work when it blasts onto the surface. Apply the product and let it sit for several minutes before rinsing it.
You can even scrub some areas with a soft brush if they’re particularly dirty. Use a microfiber cloth to polish the parts you cleaned.
The company offers several scents to choose from as well as a few package size options.
What to Consider in Buying a Chain Cleaner
As you may have noticed, the market offers several types of cleaners. Choosing between these types often depends on your needs and preferences.
Think about if your cleaner of choice is safe to use on the chain and other parts. This is often the most critical factor to consider because some cleaners are only suitable for chains.
The two types are water-based and solvent-based, featuring a wide range of benefits and drawbacks.
A water-based cleaner clings to the chain, turning into foam the second it leaves the bottle/container. It’s an easy-to-use system suitable for removing even the most persistent dirt, oil, soil, and other contaminants.
In most cases, a water-based cleaner requires a few minutes to work, after which you’d have to rinse it.
A solvent-based cleaner is similar to a brake cleaner. It’s a thin, highly efficient solvent that removes heavy-duty grime, dirt, soil, and grease.
The solvent usually comes in a high-pressure spray bottle. The pressure and the solvent combined remove grease as soon as you spray the product.
Most cleaners are safe to use on motorcycles, but it would help if you double-checked this. Compatibility is a significant factor because some cleaners can even damage certain areas.
In other words, getting a cleaner on plastic or glass parts can result in streaks and scratches you might not be able to fix.
Some multi-surface cleaners are safe to use on chains and any other part of your bike. Others aren’t as versatile and can cause painted parts to fade.
Remember to read the list of ingredients and the instructions to learn whether the product fits your needs.
The chain is one of the parts that get the dirtiest even with regular maintenance. It often has lots of dust, dirt, sand, and grease clogging and preventing it from functioning correctly.
For this reason, you need an efficient cleaner since anything less probably won’t do anything to help the issue.
Best cleaners are efficient and fast-acting. Most formulas require a few minutes to sit before you rinse the product if necessary. Some don’t require rinsing.
You can even use a soft brush to help the grime to come off if the area is quite dirty.
The biggest concern is often the flammability of these cleaning agents. Most of these products are highly flammable, and some even come in high-pressure spray bottles.
For this reason, make sure to use them away from any heat sources. The same goes for storing the product, as you should keep it in a safe and dry area.
You might want to wear protective goggles and gloves for some added safety when cleaning. People often don’t think this is necessary, but these chemicals can burn your skin and damage your eyesight.
The instructions at the back of the package should include more safety precautions.
Much like all motorcycle equipment, maintenance products, and parts, chain cleaners come at different prices. You can find both cheap and expensive options, depending on what fits your needs and preferences.
Think about your needs in terms of package size, compatibility, and efficiency so that you can figure out what product would work best. Consider your budget but try not to focus on the price too much.
In other words, think about other buying factors we discussed without letting the price be a deciding factor. The price doesn’t always indicate quality, which means that even the cheapest product can sometimes do.
How to Clean a Motorcycle Chain
The first thing you should do is prepare your bike and the area around it. Make sure you have clear access to the chain so that you don’t hassle with getting the cleaner in.
Also, ensure all other areas are protected in case you get any cleaner on them. It’s always better to protect other areas so that the product doesn’t cause any paint to fade.
You can read our full article on how to clean a motorcycle chain here.
Take a few minutes to check the chain’s conditions and if you maybe have to replace it. Look for any breakage or signs of rust so that you can fix or replace what’s damaged.
Rotate the rear wheel to check for tight spots. You might need a new chain if the rear wheel can’t rotate freely.
On top of that, you might want to inspect the rear drive sprocket.
Most cleaners are easy to apply, but you should always take some time to read the instructions. You want to make sure you’re using it properly, although most are used similarly.
Spray bottles are the easiest and quickest to use. Some even come with little straws for a more precise application in tight areas.
If it’s a liquid cleaner, you can apply it with a cloth or a soft sponge.
Scrubbing isn’t necessary but can help if your chain is too dirty to clean with just spraying. If you decide you want to scrub the area a bit, you should only do that with a gentle brush.
Brushes that have soft bristles are the best for this job. Those that have rough bristles can scratch and damage the surface.
You can even use a microfiber cloth if you don’t have a soft brush.
Most products require rinsing, which is why you should read the instructions included in the package. This way, you’re sure of adequately using it, especially since not all products require rinsing.
Rinsing is equally simple since all you need is a water hose. You can rinse it with a bucket and sponge, but having hard pressure makes the job easier.
You might notice residue and streaks if you don’t rinse it well.
It’s time to re-lube the chain once you inspect and clean it. You’ve probably re-lubed it at some point, so you know that it’s easy to do with the right set of products.
One thing you should remember is that some cleaners can also work as lubricants. Lubricant serves to protect your chain from scuffing, rusting, and breaking regardless of how frequently you ride.
Avoid leaving your motorcycle idling in first gear to rotate the rear wheel. You can easily lose focus and get your fingers caught in the chain and sprockets.
When it comes to tools and accessories, you can use pretty much anything you already have. In other words, you don’t have to buy a specifically made cleaning brush. Instead, you can just use an old toothbrush.
Although rinsing requires some pressure-washing, you should be extra careful with this step. Too much pressure can just splash the lube all over your bike or even damage its O-rings.
Why You Should Clean Your Motorcycle Chain
The chain is exposed to all weather and road conditions. When inspecting it, you’ll notice grime, dirt, and soil stuck everywhere.
This can cause rust, damage, and even breakage if you fail to maintain your chain. Regular inspection and maintenance are required to prevent corrosion and damage regardless of your riding style.
Cleaning is essential if you’re into off-road riding. Off-road terrain is packed with dust and dirt that can clog your chain much faster than if you were to ride on concrete.
Chains wear quickly if not maintained properly, so make sure to dedicate some time to this and use only the best products.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to lube my chain after cleaning?
When cleaning the chain, you remove all the dirt, grime, and oils. With that, you might even remove the lube left over from the last time.
For this reason, you should always lube it after cleaning to ensure no dirt and dust can stick to it as quickly.
Is petrol safe to use to clean chains?
Petrol isn’t safe to use on motorcycle chains. It can cause severe damage, eating and corroding the material, resulting in more issues.
It’s best to avoid using petrol on these areas of your motorcycle. Also, make sure to read what ingredients are included in your cleaner of choice to ensure there’s no petrol.
What accessories do I need for cleaning my motorcycle chain?
As mentioned, you don’t need much to clean your motorcycle chain. While you need the best cleaner and a lubricant, you should also have a few other things at hand.
Get yourself a soft brush, a microfiber cloth, or an old T-shirt you no longer need.
At this point, you probably understand the importance of chain maintenance. It’s a simple process that doesn’t require much time or effort, although it’s vital for prolonging your chain’s life.
Cleaning is easy to do when done regularly. Removing the dirt and mud that are clogging helps to prolong its durability so that you don’t have to replace it anytime soon.
Hopefully, you found a motorcycle chain cleaner that fits your needs among the ones we reviewed above. These come at different prices and are available in several sizes to fit everyone’s needs.